A person suffering from an eating disorder is having severe disturbances in his or her normal behavior and eating pattern. It is characterized by a severe obsession with eating food, body shape, and body weight. This mental condition can greatly affect someone’s physical and mental state and in some cases can also lead to death. It is good to know that there is available eating disorders treatment to people suffering from this mental illness. It is essential to keep in mind that it is not a lifestyle choice but eating disorders are known as biologically-influenced medical illnesses.
There is no particular group of people who are at risk of developing such mental disorders. It can happen in any stage of life, race, gender, and age. Although most cases are common during the adolescent stage, it can also happen during childhood and as late as 40 years old and above. Also, people who are suffering from this mental disorder may appear healthy on the outside. The following are ways to treat eating disorders.
1. Healthy Eating Behavior
People with an eating disorder are already deficient in diverse macro and micronutrients, so they are advised by health professionals to consume a diet with adequate nutrition. Once you seek medical help, then a healthcare team will provide you with the right services and treatments that can aid you to get back to your normal life. Some key points to remember are:
- One of the most vital parts of the process is a treatment plan. All patients must regain his/her normal body weight and acquire all nutrients that the body needs. A Nutritionist and Registered Dietician can help you create a nutritional plan.
- Bad eating habits will not go away overnight, so it is critical to developing a healthy eating pattern that is tailor-made according to your own nutritional needs.
- Patients are asked to make a record of their meals every day. Also, it is recommended for them to eat with a family member or a friend who the person is comfortable with.
- In case a patient is unable to eat in the case of severe purging, patients are given food substitutes in the form of drinks with high protein and energy.
- Some are given with nasogastric feeding or tube feeding.
Anorexia treatment for the long-standing condition may require sometime before feeding them with solid foods as most of them may experience a reaction called a refeeding syndrome. Patients with binge eating and bulimia are advice to lose weight. Children must be supervised every mealtime and eat together with the family to encourage positive eating behavior.
2. Medical Care Treatment
There is a need for medical treatment for complications caused by overuse of laxatives, vomiting, and extreme starvation. There are instances when patients are required to undergo dental and medical care. Severe starvation can cause serious complications that can lead to a life-threatening condition such as dehydration, irregular heartbeat, the low glucose level in the bloodstream, low blood pressure, and a very low amount of white blood cells that lessen the ability of the immune system to fight off infection.
In the case of refeeding syndrome for people who do not eat for a longer time, a doctor may ask for several tests to find out the level of potassium, magnesium, and phosphate in the body. This test is done every day for more than a week to monitor the normal level of these essential minerals. Part of anorexia and bulimia treatment is treating ulceration caused by frequent vomiting. Also, you may be required to visit a dentist to solve enamel problems caused by stomach acid present in the vomit.
Laxative overdose can lead to irritable bowel movement and it should be treated by a specialist. Another intervention in weight loss for people who suffered from binge eating and bulimia as they are sometimes at risk of developing heart diseases because of the high level of cholesterol. Physicians may recommend the intake of some medications as part of eating disorders treatment to address these complications.
3. Medication and Drugs
Medicines and the use of other drugs are not proven effective in anorexia treatment. However, people who suffered from binge eating and bulimia might take antidepressant medications or mood stabilizers.
4. Psychological Treatment
A total lifestyle change is vital to treat eating disorders. This is the most effective way to find out the root cause of the problem and find out the best care plan for the patient.